Saturday, September 30, 2006

In His Image Reflections on Self

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female, he created them." Genesis 1:27

Its quiet today. My husband is away for the weekend. The older kids are scattered about, the younger two are at the football field waiting to see if the thunderstorms will let up and allow the Homecoming game to continue. The only noise is the clacking of my cats feet as he paces the hall.

I sit in my studio staring at this collage on my wall and reflect on this mornings quiet time. God has been bringing back the message to me over and over that I was made in His image.

This message has meant different things to me at different times. He has affirmed me and shown me that He chose me. I went through my "I am a child of The King" phase. I need to add a crown to this collage to remind myself. It still awes me to think that He knew me before birth. That He knows me more intimately then I know myself. That He really and truly cares for me and what I am going through. That He wants to have a relationship with me. It is real. He has helped me through so much. I've seen miracles and answered prayers, big and small.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

It is the ultimate sacrifice to give your life for another. It helps me to remember the sacrifice Jesus gave for my life. The love He showed was sacrificial. He gave it all. The love He teaches is a sacrificial love. Its so different from what the world teaches. That to truly love means you have the other persons best interest at heart, in spite of how you're feeling. Its not about me.

It's the kind of love that enables a mother to get up in the middle of the night and nurse her baby after only an hours sleep. Its the kind of love that enables people to open orphanages for babies suffering from aids. To hug and love another human being covered in sores from leprosy. And as silly as it sounds, sometimes it is the kind of love required to clean the bathroom one more time, or even to put a meal on the table when nobody seems to notice.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. So do not be afraid, you are worth more then many sparrows" Matthew 10:29 & 30

He created the entire universe, the earth and everything in it and still He has control of it all. In all its complexities. Look at how complex our own human bodies are. God is into details. And the details are all about love. His kind of love.

Today He brought me to Galatians 5 and these specific verses. I'll leave you with them:

"You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Crhist, you have fallen away from grace."

"...the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

"The entire law is summed up in a single command 'Love your neighbor as yourself'"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Oh For Arts Sake!

I had to force myself out of the art rut I've been in, so this week I determined to make art "just for arts sake". You know what I mean? Just for the sheer pleasure of it, no plans or deeper meaning. Just playing with my favorite stuff.

So I made this little assemblage. (Although it seems to be speaking to me and wanting to say something about words. The scripture "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14 keeps running through my mind):

Jealous of my teeth? You can get your own set at my Etsy store today!

It's not your grandmothers biscuit cutter no more!

Then I made this:

More teeth, I know you want some!

And that little tiny tart tin can be had from my Etsy shop too. (I've darkened mine with Jax patina solution.)

And I was on a roll so I made this:

I love these antique yard sticks. I never pay more then $1 for them when I find them at flea markets and estate sales:

Tweet tweet too sweet:

And this was a lot of fun, another biscuit cutter bites the dust (for arts sake!):

The license plate isn't too terribly old, but very fun to work with. And that antique lens with the red label still attached was an exciting find. Perfect way to finish this piece!

I guess I can safely say I've broke out of the rut. I just needed to give myself permission to create just for the sake of creating. Which reminds me of a verse that has inspired me so many times:

Exodus 31:3 "and I have filled (her) him with the Spirit of God, with knowledge, skill, and ability in all kinds of crafts"

This desire I have to create is God given, how can I say no to that?

All of these pieces will be listed on either Ebay (for the adventurer) or Etsy (for the must have it now types) later so keep checking if your interested!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Newest Listings

Finally able to load pics, but I thought I'd leave you with the close-up of one element of my necklace. See the link to Etsy below if you want to view the whole thing!

For all of you visiting from my ebay auction for the first time - WELCOME! Come on in, pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee, and browse! I've been posting here on blogger for a few months, be sure to see my archives!

I closed up my ebay store a while ago and have opened one up on etsy. I'm listing plenty of oddities and miscelany to amuse & inspire you and keep you busy creating your own great objects de art!

I've also been listing my works of art. Including my latest creation, a found object art necklace made from antique lenses, antique engraving, cuckoo clock chain, and an antique rosary. One of a kind to say the least! (See the picture tease above)

Check out my Etsy store today! (click the word etsy-its a link!)

I've also listed my first auction on ebay in a long long time. Check it out here today!

Don't forget to read the post below for details on how to win your own art charm and get the directions on how to make one too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Glass Vial Art Charm Technique & Give-away!

I just finished making 26 of these art charms and soon will be shipping 25 of them off to the host of a MMCA charm swap I'm in.

I'm having a drawing on October 1st for the extra charm so if you are not in the MMCA swap and would like to enter just send me an e-mail (see my profile page) or leave a comment here and I'll put your name in the hat. And while you're at it let me know if you're interested in joining my mailing list, I'll be having a drawing for a different charm exclusively for those on my mailing list in a couple of weeks.

Don't forget to check out my Etsy store. I've just added lots of new treasures for you to create with!

If you'd like to try your hand at making a charm of your own, just follow the instructions below.

Gather your supplies:

  • Glass vial with cork stopper (I've used antique watchmakers vials)
  • Pre 1909 image or text (must be this old to insure this technique will work)
  • Any craft varnish
  • Metal leaf adhesive
  • E600 or small amount of epoxy
  • Metal leaf
  • Wire, bobby pin, or paper clip
  • jump ring

Gather your tools:

  • Cup of water
  • Sewing needle
  • Jewelers needle nose pliers
  • Jewelers wire cutter
  • Thin paint brush
  • Dry paint brush with dense thick bristles

My work space tends to get very messy, so it helps to grab something to keep track of my smaller supplies. I like to pick up vintage mini muffin tins at estate sales:

Gather the images you will be working with & cut or tear around the section you will use for your charm:

You will need to thin the paper image for this project. This will give it a nice translucent quality and remove any text from the back. The type of paper used in pre-1909 books works well with this technique. After this date paper manufacturing changed. You can try a newer image but it may just turn to mush.

Dunk the paper in your cup of water and turn the image face down on a small piece of glass. As you begin gently rubbing with your finger, the paper will begin to pill and rub away. You will rub off any text on the back of your image and begin to see the image through the paper.

This is a real trial and error process, when you feel the paper has been thinned enough, stop rubbing and lay it on a paper towel to dry.

CAUTION! Just when you think you are almost there, you will rub a hole right through your precious image. I do this frequently. Practice Practice Practice before you try it on the image you want to use.

While your image is drying create the wire loop in the cork top for hanging.

Cut the top of an old bobby pin or paper clip or bend wire in a U shape. Press the ends into the top of the cork to create an indentation. Remove and use the sewing needle to pierce all the way through the cork at each indentation. Now push the U shaped wire, bobby pin, or paper clip all the way through until the ends are protuding from the bottom of the cork.

Use jewelers sized needle nose pliers to bend the wires at right angles and clip with wire cutters as necessary.

Curl the dry image around a nail and insert into the vial:

Thin your craft varnish with equal parts water. Only a few drops are necessary for one little charm like this. I tend to put a few drops on a flat surface and drop water off the end of my paint brush. Mix well.

Brush the reverse side of the image pressing it to the glass as you work. Be sure the paper is saturated, but do not use an excessive amount. Lay the vial on its side, image side down until it is dry. This may take an hour (good time to clean the work space or better yet, start another project!)

Next you will metal leaf the bottom of the vial. Brush the metal leaf adheasive over the outside bottom and around the bottom edge where you want the leaf to be. Remember this is glass and the adhesive may drip so use it sparingly.

Turn the vial upside down to dry. When the adhesive is clear it is ready.

Gold leafing is a lot of fun!

Stick the vial bottom side down on a sheet of leaf and press it around the edges where the adhesive has been applied. Using your stiff dry brush, brush off the excessive leaf. I like to brush it off over a cup or container in order to reuse the crumbs for another project.

Next insert the cork, securing with a glue such as E600 or a small amount of 2-part epoxy. Wipe any excess off after the cork has been inserted.

Now repeat the steps for the metal leafing around the top of the vial and the cork:

Your charm is ready for the jump ring. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If not for the storms....

I stare at this collage on a daily basis. It leans against the mirror on my vanity and has become a part of the landscape of my bedroom that I tend to take in without much notice. I made it a few years back when I reluctantly agreed to go back to my old job as a Project Manager at a large format screen printing company. Doesn't sound like much, but if you have ever worked in a printing or publishing environment you know.

The image of the frantic newspaper reporter running through the middle of the plant screaming "STOP THE PRESSES!" may be a little dramatic, but not too far off. The phrase where I worked was "running with your hair on fire" and if you weren't in that mode then you probably weren't doing your job. I enjoyed the challenge for a long time, I felt proud of what I had achieved.

I was 16 years old when I gave birth to my oldest son. I graduated early from high school and went to work full time. College was not in the plans for me.
I started working in the printing industry sometime after my third child went off to grade school. My first job in the hand bindery was boring and tedious and paid just a few cents over minimum wage, yet it was a paycheck and I dedicated myself to doing the job as well as it could be done.

By my 3rd year in the business I had worked my way up to Sales Assistant and soon took a transfer from my corn fed central Illinois town to the big city of Chicago. After a year of working in that Chicago office I was hired at a printing company in the suburb where I live as a Project Manager with a salary I could have only dreamed of when I started in the industry just a few short years before. I was the only person in that position in my company who hadn't come by it through a college education and I was proud, but it wasn't long before an auto-immune illness and my new role as wife and step-mom to 4 took its toll. Cutting my hours didn't work, eventually I had to quit. These words carry so many memories. It wasn't an easy decision and there was much turmoil in life that brought me to make it.

Looking back I am so very grateful for that turmoil and the path that was set for me through it, for it was the beginning of the life I know now as an artist. God knew my dreams as a high school student and how they were set aside for the reality of life as a teen mom.

The day I made this little collage I had resigned myself to going back to my old job as Project Manager. Life was once again a time of turmoil and this seemed like the solution. I knew my health was bound to suffer so I determined to lean on God to strengthen me each day.

I kept this piece on my desk to remind me. All the elements have meaning, the compass, the key, the text from an antique typewriter pamphlet reading "Instructions for operating", all reminding me to keep my focus on God and not my situation. The alphabet along the side reminded me to see Him as the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and end. I may not be able to see what this new storm was all about or where it might be leading me, but God already knew.
The grandfather clock image embellished with a Red Opa, a ration coin from WWII, to remind me that the eternal God is my portion and my strength. A transfer of sheet music on the base of the clock reads "One more day's work for Jesus". See the handwritten line of poetry above the old photo frame? It reads "No, I never stop loving you" and I know He won't, ever! And while I am not Catholic, the 1920s photo of the little girl in her first communion dress is how I feel inside, the bride of Christ, trying to live each day for Him. How impossible that would be (and, oh my, how often I have failed!!) if it weren't for Him. As the verse around it reads "God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day."

The time I spent back on the job was indeed hard on my body and my health suffered, but the time was truly redeemed. I made the decision to throw caution to the wind and start selling my art online. I needed an outlet from the stress of the job, so I got involved in online art communities and met many wonderful artists. I know I wouldn't have made this decision if I hadn't had to go back to work and now a whole new world of mixed media was opening up to me.

I have been back at home full time again for nearly two years and the storms have started again. So much has happened it would take all day to tell, but this time is different. This time I can look back on where I have been and see all the good that has come from these storms in the past. I set my eyes on this little collage each morning as I do my hair and it reminds me, God is in me, He will not let me fall; He will help me each day. The turmoil is not fun, downright painful at times, but I know now that He shakes me up to move me forward and knowing that has given me peace.